Confession – I do not have a “favorite” team in the NBA.
The last team that I considered my favorite was the Charlotte Hornets when Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Alonzo Mourning were together. Since then, I have followed the league, but I have never really given my allegiance to any one team. However, if I had to choose which team I had an affinity for in the NBA, it would have to be the San Antonio Spurs. I have always liked their organization and approach to the game.
The Spurs just recently won the NBA Championship a few days ago. It was amazing. Their style of play, the teamwork on the court, and their submission to their coach impressed me as an individual and as a pastor. Needless to say, I wrote down several things about the Spurs that I think we could all learn from as leaders and learners. From body language on the court to interviews after the game, here are a few of my personal #SpursLeadershipLessons I would like to share with you:
1. The leader sets the tone. Tim Duncan is the main star on the team. It was commented during one of the games how he has really been the leading example for the entire team on how they follow and play for their coach. Always remember that as leaders, you will set the tone for the rest of the team. If you want to see something, you must become that something you want to see.
2. Listening is a developed skill. After watching ESPN, it was repeated several times at how the Spurs players listen to Coach Popovich without fail. During game time, they did not question his court side decision making. It was even said that, “everyone in a Spurs uniform understands that Coach Popovich has nothing but the best interests in mind for his players.” Remember, we have two ears and one mouth.
3. Attitude is everything. One thing I observed was how the Spurs players displayed great attitude throughout the series with their Coach. At one point, Coach Popovich corrected a player and got in his face. He benched him, and moments later, that same player was cheering his teammates on. Others in that same scenario would have pouted or been disgruntled. What separates the great ones from the good ones is attitude. It has been said that attitude determines altitude.
4. You must love what you do. From the coaches to the players, there is a sincere love for the game among the Spurs organization. Not just the cameras or flashy dunks, but the game itself. In ministry, you have to love what you are doing and called to do. Appreciate where the Church has been and where the Church is going. Most importantly, love God and love people.
5. Remain teachable. As a learner, one of my favorite moments during the series was when it was pointed out at how Tony Parker approached Coach Popovich. The commentator noted that he looked like a high school player with his coach. I love that! Even after all the fame and glory, players like Tony have realized that teachers and coaches are there for a reason. We don’t know everything.
Here are a few more final nuggets I wrote down concerning the Spurs:
· They have a unique humility about themselves.
· You have to be able to coach your best player.
· These guys have gotten over themselves a long time ago.
· Spurs had more assists.
· They constantly sacrifice for the guy next to them.
· Tim Duncan said the reason why Coach Popovich has been successful was because of “his ability to change with the game and to change his team with the game.”